Mr Ashley Tries to fit in

Date: 13th October 2021

“Mr. Ashley tries to fit in…”

The latest creative SFSA blog from our Donald Stewart.

“Way aye soft lad…”

There is an odd noise coming from a toilet cubicle in Newcastle airport.

“Nah, it is, WAY aye soft lad… Whaur’s the night oot eh? Ah cannae idea that?”

Behind the cubicle door is brash cockney, Mr. Ashley who has just arrived at Newcastle Airport from his London home and is trying to sound like a Geordie.

If the person who set him up could see him now…

Picture the scene…

It is early in the morning at London City Airport. Mr. Ashley is there with all his pals. All one of them.

He has been the boss of a sports shoe company for ages and wants to branch out. Someone said that buying up firms in the Northeast would be a good idea because they like brash and unapologetic cockneys up there so Mr. Ashley bit and made plans.

And so, the trip was needed.

Mr. Ashley and his friend (who has asked for their identity to be protected for fear of reprisals) stand waiting for the call to board as Mr. Ashley’s friend, who likes a wind up asks, “Have you got your passport?”

Mr. Ashley looks puzzled. “I am only going to Newcastle,” he says.

“I know,” says his friend, “but they need to check it. Did you bring it?”

Having been to Ibiza on a class holiday the week before it is tucked in his holdall, so he feels a bit better but then his friend asks, “and your accent? Been practising?”

Mr. Ashley now does look really puzzled.

“Accent? What are you talking about?”

He takes a step back to look at his friend and looks really suspicious.

His friend eyes him back and replies, ”they won’t let you in unless you speak… Geordie.”

“Seriously?”

His friend nods. “Yup. Huge. People have been trying for years to get a foothold in the area but as soon as they open their mouths, bombed out. Southerners like us especially. Not sure why.”

Mr. Ashley looks crestfallen. “But I don’t speak Geordie.”

His friend smiles at him as if he is stupid. It usually works as Mr. Ashley is quite a sensitive soul.

“Did you not do your research?”

Mr. Ashley bristles in defence. “I did tons of research. Looked at their sales figures, approached people who knew them, looked at staff turnover, yields and performances in the market against other similar firms and this is a good match for me. At no point did I think I needed to sound like them.”

“Well, you do,” replies his friend.

Mr. Ashley is beginning to panic. “Should I not go until I can speak Geordie?”

His friend smiles sympathetically, another tactic that usually works after Mr. Ashley panics. It is the key to the wind up. “All you need to do is watch a few episodes of anything with Ant and Dec in it and off you go.”

“Ant and Dec? Who are they?” Mr. Ashley is feeling sick. Why does he not know who they are? Are they rivals in the Northeast he knows nothing about? Will they scupper his big chance of buying big in the area? Are they even into sports?

The fact is that Mr. Ashley is famed for his inability to blend in anywhere as Mr. Ashley is completely untouched by culture of any type – he has no small talk. He is a workaholic who spends half his life scheming and thinking up new ways of making him money and the other half trying not to spend it. It has made him infamous amongst the people who he feels should know him: he does not waste time doing anything in his eyes which does not make him money. And so, he squints at his friend and wonders where the hell he is going to find Ant and Dec.

His friend, as always, has the answer.

“Got your phone with you?” he asks.

“Of course,” replies Mr. Ashley.

“Then open up YouTube, type in “Ant and Dec”, click on a few links and away you go.”

“Right,” Mr. Ashley smiles. He has a plan.

Just then the call comes through to board the plane ad after thanking his friend profusely he starts the walk towards the gate. His friend watches him get through it and disappear into the bowels of the airport towards the plane to Newcastle.

As he gets into the car, his friend misses Mr. Ashley’s fight with the flight attendant who tells him that he cannot watch YouTube in flight and then the panic as Mr. Ashley gets off his flight, and rushes straight to the men’s toilet. He has been in there for about an hour now, making sure he can see as much of Ant and Dec as humanly possible before he has to emerge into the airport and tries his luck.

What he does not know us that his antics and the amount of time he has spent in the toilet has alerted airport security who have, in turn, alerted the drugs squad as they suspect they have spotted a drugs mule now in the loo trying to get out their “cargo”.

Mr. Ashley does not know it yet but as he comes out the loo, he shall be subject to a full cavity search.

It might put him off ever coming to Newcastle ever again…

As if…

That would ever have happened…

 

Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an original tale, there is no evidence that Mr. Ashley has ever attempted a Geordie accent or had a cavity search at Newcastle Airport, unless you know differently, therefore this is clearly a work of fiction.

The fact is that during the week, there was a takeover of Newcastle Football Club bringing to the end 14 turbulent years of Mike Ashley, the cockney geezer in charge of the Toon Club, being in charge. A Saudi consortium have bought the club. There are divided opinions as to whether Newcastle are now owned by a group with a worse management record for staff than Ashely. Only time, and perhaps Steve Bruce shall tell…


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